Interplay of anxiety and eye health

The interplay between anxiety and eye health can lead to discomfort and potential long-term issues.
Interplay of anxiety and eye health

HYDERABAD: Anxiety can significantly impact various aspects of health, including eye health. The interplay between anxiety and eye health can lead to discomfort and potential long-term issues. Understanding this relationship is crucial for those who experience anxiety and its physical manifestations.

Connection between anxiety and eye health

Anxiety is intricately connected to hormonal changes, sleep patterns, and diet, all of which can affect eye health. Dr Pallavi Gupta Reddy, a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon and Founder of Aadya Eye Care, Hyderabad, explains, “Proper sleep and diet are crucial for maintaining good eye health. Anxiety can disrupt these, leading to issues such as eye strain and dryness.”

Moreover, anxiety can exacerbate other health conditions that impact eye health. Dr Udaya Sree Avadhani notes, “Anxiety will reduce hypertension, which can affect the retina, leading to blurred vision, watering eyes, and headaches.” Additionally, anxiety can cause fluctuations in blood sugar levels in diabetic patients, further complicating eye health.

Common symptoms and conditions

A significant number of individuals with anxiety experience eye-related symptoms. According to Dr Pallavi Gupta Reddy, “Eighty percent of patients with anxiety issues experience dry eyes.” This high percentage underscores the importance of addressing eye health in patients dealing with anxiety. Symptoms such as itchiness, dryness, and redness are prevalent.

Dr Udaya Sree Avadhani highlights that continuous eye issues can stem from psychological problems. “It is a psychological condition, not a disease, but it can be related to diseases that affect the eyes,” she explains. High cortisol levels, associated with stress, can alter blood sugar and blood pressure, significantly impacting eye health.

Managing anxiety is crucial for maintaining good eye health. Dr Pallavi Gupta Reddy recommends a holistic approach, “A proper sleep cycle is a must. Limiting screen time, especially before bedtime, helps reduce blue light exposure, which can disrupt sleep and worsen eye strain.” She also emphasises the importance of nutrition and hydration. “Good food, regular hydration, and taking breaks during screen time are essential. Digital lenses can also help reduce radiation effects on the eyes,” she adds.

Dr Udaya Sree Avadhani stresses the need for managing overall health to protect eye health. “High cortisol and adrenaline levels can alter blood sugar and blood pressure, affecting your eyes. It’s important to manage these through stress reduction techniques and medical advice,” she advises.

Long-term care and prevention

Addressing eye health in the context of anxiety requires ongoing care and attention. Dr Pallavi Gupta Reddy points out that dry eyes are often chronic and require sustained treatment. “Dry eyes can persist for 2-3 months. There is no quick cure, but consistent use of prescribed eye drops and nutritional changes can help manage the condition,” she explains.

Integrating lifestyle changes can significantly alleviate the eye-related symptoms of anxiety. Dr Pallavi Gupta Reddy suggests, “Incorporating regular exercise, not just eye exercises, can improve overall health and reduce anxiety. Simple practices like yoga and meditation can be particularly effective.”

Dr Udaya Sree Avadhani also points to the importance of a balanced lifestyle. “Maintaining a healthy diet, rich in vitamins A, C, and E, can support eye health. Reducing caffeine and alcohol intake, which can exacerbate anxiety, also helps in managing symptoms.”

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